Conservation status of Lesser Antillean reptiles

  • Powell R
  • Henderson R
  • 34

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Abstract

Island populations of terrestrial animals often are vulnerable to human-mediated changes to their environments. Many insu- lar endemics have become extinct, had populations extirpated, or are in various stages of decline. Herein we address the conservation sta- tus of terrestrial reptiles in the Lesser Antilles. Although many species in the region are ecological generalists and have adapted to the presence of humans, nearly half of the reptilian species native to the archipelago have suffered as a consequence of human alterations of their habitats or introductions of alien predators and competitors, often aggravated by catastrophic natural events such as hurricanes. Particularly vulnerable are species that are terrestrial and diurnally active. Although many of the listed factors have contributed to the decline or elimination of particular species from individual islands, we contend that the introduction of the mongoose is the single event most responsible for the extirpations and declines of many Lesser Antillean reptiles.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Conservation
  • Lesser Antilles
  • Reptiles
  • conservation
  • reptile
  • status

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Authors

  • R Powell

  • R W Henderson

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